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Secret Weapon

posted: 02/11/2004
by Adam Hirshfield

Worried about early-season blisters from pinching ski boots? The remedy might come from an unlikely source: the U.S. Army.

According to a U.S. Military Academy study, rubbing antiperspirant on the feet can reduce blisters. Cadets applied antiperspirant for five nights and then went on a 21-kilometer hike to prove it.

"It makes sense that antiperspirants should help," says Dr. Katy Reynolds, a sports medicine physician at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. "It dries the foot and reduces the friction that causes blisters." Could it work for skiers? "The test has only been conducted in warm temperatures," she says, "and there is no scientific proof that it will help in ski boots." Boot guru Bob Gleason of The Boot Doctor in Telluride has on occasion suggested his clients try it. "People who have sweaty feet and get cold while skiing could definitely benefit from it," he says. Gleason, however, points out that it's always risky to interfere with natural bodily functions.

Perhaps a more significant concern: In the study, over half the cadets complained of itching and rashes after using the antiperspirant. "That's the trade-off," says Reynolds.

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